Evid Based Nurs 1:134 doi:10.1136/ebn.1.4.134
  • Qualitative

People with drinking problems experienced suffering as a vicious, spiralling vortex that encompassed all aspects of their being

 Question How do people with drinking problems describe the lived experience of suffering?


Hermeneutic phenomenology.


An alcohol problems clinic in Scotland, UK.


A purposeful sample of 6 participants (3 men and 3 women, age range 42–61 y) who attended the clinic. All participants met the International Classification of Diseases - 10 criteria for alcohol dependence syndrome.


Indepth interviews were done in the clinic or at the participant's home, and were audiotaped and transcribed. The researcher kept a reflexive journal of thoughts and feelings during the process. Themes were extracted using a framework suggested by Van Manen and were validated by independent expert nurses. An interpreted account of each participant's experience was generated and given to the participants for validation.

Main results

The lived experience of suffering was described in terms of Van Manen's existential life worlds: corporeal, relational, temporal, and spatial. Corporeal (physical) suffering was related to alcohol dependence syndrome (eg, headache, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain) and the effects …

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